Service Learning Initiatives Inspire Collaboration and Expression

Published: April 29, 2014

A compelling collection of art pieces including sculptures, oil pastels,  ink drawings, digital photographs and other works, will be featured in A Colorful Expression of Mind, an exhibit at the QCC Art Gallery, on display beginning May 1 through June 29.

The show—a collaboration between the Venture House Group Exhibition and the QCC Art Gallery—is an effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by providing community education through an exhibition of the works of artists who are members of Venture House.venture

“We are happy to welcome back the members of Venture House whose varied art is a wonderful addition to our other existing exhibits,” said Faustino Quintanilla, Executive Director of the QCC Art Gallery who noted that the display would not be possible without the partnership of David Plotka, Program Director for Venture House.

The goals of Venture House coincide with those of advanced students in the Department of Nursing whose training has included rotations in both community nursing and psychiatric hospital units. These experiences give them a broader, more holistic view of people with mental illness.

“We support their creative talents and strengths,” said Alexandra Tarasko, Professor and Deputy Chairperson, Nursing, who added that nursing students active in service learning will have an opportunity to meet and talk with the Venture House artists. “What truly matters is that the nursing students make a connection to members of Venture House and have an understanding of their life experiences.”

Indeed, some members are chefs, writers, and singers while others have studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) at The City University of New York (CUNY). Their artwork has been displayed at the Art Student League of New York and the Education and Research Center of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).sculpture

Additionally, black and white digital photographs were taken of each piece by QCC’s photography students in the Department of Art and Design for a show booklet.

“This occasion is a prime example of the value of service learning activities from across different academic disciplines,” said Jo Pantaleo, Director, Academic Literacy Learning Center and Project Director, Office of Academic Service Learning. “The intent is to go out into the community and then bring the community back here.”

Other key players in the initiative included Mary Bandziukas, Project Coordinator of Academic Service Learning.  


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